Food ingredients import hits US$133m

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By Wisdom JONNY-NUEKPE

Ghana imported US$133million worth of key ingredients for food preparation and processing last year, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has said.

The amount, according to the USDA – Food Processing Ingredients Annual Report on Ghana, increased by some 48 percent from US$89.2million recorded in 2022.

These ingredients are largely made up of wheat flour, food additives and spices, bakery goods, food colouring and sweeteners.

The report highlighted that U.S. exports of food processing and ingredients increased to US$2.21million last year, up by 52 percent compared to US$1.45million in 2022 – making it the 12th largest supplier of food processing ingredients with a less than three percent market share in the country.

Turkey, China, Belgium, Ireland and India were the top five largest suppliers of food processing ingredients in 2023.

Indeed, Turkey holds the most market share (23 percent) – which is primarily driven by wheat and wheat-flour trade in the country.

The remaining leading suppliers in descending order are Netherlands, Singapore, Germany, Brazil and the United Kingdom.

The report indicates that imports will continue to grow as Ghana’s underdeveloped food processing sector is unable to meet increased demand for locally produced food ingredients.

According to the USDA, local food processing has less than 200 agro-processing firms registered and certified to operate by the Food and Drugs Authority.

It says even though demand for processed foods continue to grow, inefficient production coupled with inadequate quality of local raw materials preclude the development of a viable processing industry.

“Retail outlets stock lots of processed foods because of growing demand, changing eating habits and diets of the growing urban and middle-class population. This represents an opportunity for U.S. exporters,” the report said.

The USDA explained that rapid urbanisation and gains in economic growth will continue to stimulate an emerging middle class who embrace western brands, products and lifestyles.

“Most consumers in Ghana are price-sensitive, but quality is never overlooked and the growing middle class values premium products. The country offers expanding market opportunities due to its remarkable record of political stability and relatively liberal import policies,” it added.

These notable achievements, according to the USDA, make Ghana a potential gateway to the larger West African market for US exporters.

However, the EU and Asia are the main competitors to the US in the country’s food processing and ingredients market.

According to data from Trade Data Monitor, the EU supplies about 40 percent of food processing ingredients with Asian countries such as China, Turkey and India controlling a chunk of the market share.

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